People just want to be happy. They talk about it, sing about it, dream about it. People spend their lives in the pursuit of happiness. They spend their money, forfeit their families, search the WORLD over looking for happiness…looking for favorable circumstances and conditions. Because that’s what happiness is…being jolly, cheerful, merry or carefree because of favorable conditions and even luck. Even the etymology of the word happy implies….
Happy (adj.) late 14c., “lucky, favored by fortune, being in advantageous circumstances, prosperous;” of events, “turning out well,” from hap (n.) “chance, fortune” + -y (2). Sense of “very glad” first recorded late 14) from etymonline.com.
Happiness can be an illusion. Delusional people can appear to be some of the happiest people. Serial killers are happy when they are killing and evading capture. People can be happy while doing wrong depending on the state of their heart. Yes, we can be happy over virtuous things too. Happiness isn’t necessarily bad, but it IS still conditional.
As many of you have heard before, joy is not conditional. Happiness is an emotion, but joy is a state of mind. It’s not just a state of mind, but a state of the spirit. Joy, not happiness, is a Fruit of the Spirit, evidence of God’s Spirit and an aspect of His character.
Galatians 5:22-23New King James Version (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
In John 15: 11, Jesus tells us that its His desire that His joy remain in us so that our joy may be full.
John 15:11New King James Version (NKJV)
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
This kind of joy the world CAN’T give. The joy of the Lord can abide through hardship, heartbreak, tribulation, storms and adversity…no one is happy in any of these circumstances. But joy can abide and produce peace through it all. Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus endured the pain and shame of the cross because of the joy set before him.
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Happiness disappears when joy flourishes. People search the world for happiness, they chase it….but you don’t have chase joy, because God gives it, and when you have God through Christ Jesus…you don’t have to chase it…it finds you.